Boeing, Airbus land new orders in selling duel

Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it won an $8.8 billion order from International Lease Finance Corp., including the first sale of 787 Dreamliners at this year's Paris Air Show.

But the Chicago-based company's rival, Airbus SAS, nearly equaled that total, though it took it four deals to do so.

International Lease and Boeing said the agreement covers 63 planes, including 52 of the long-range, fuel-efficient Dreamliners. The rest of the order comprises 10 single-aisle 737s and one 777-300ER.

"This contract is near or at the top of the list of significant orders from the show so far," said Myles Walton, a Boston-based analyst with CIBC World Market. "It indicates the level of support and demand for this product in the market."

International Lease, which bought 22 Dreamliners in 2005, is the world's biggest aircraft-leasing company and has 74 of the 787s under contract, making it the plane's biggest customer.

Steven Udvar-Hazy, chief of Los Angeles-based International Lease, has criticized past designs of Airbus' competing A350 and says Airbus hasn't provided enough details for it to buy the redesigned A350 XWB. Boeing has 634 firm orders for Dreamliners, compared with 105 orders for the A350.

Boeing will begin delivery of the new 787s in June 2013 at a rate of about one a month, Udvar-Hazy said. He said six customers have signed for the Dreamliner. The earlier order begins delivery in January 2010.

The transaction value is based on list prices, which don't include discounts traditionally given to customers making large purchases. International Lease is owned by American International Group Inc.

"Boeing has a distinct competitive advantage right now, and that's showing up in orders," said Richard Tortoriello, a Standard & Poor's analyst in New York. "We're seeing orders for A350, and that's expected, It's likely Airbus is offering incentives to airlines. It needs customers."

Airbus won four more Tuesday. The biggest order came from U.S.-based lessor Intrepid Aviation Group for 20 A330-200 freighter planes valued at $3.5 billion at list prices. Deliveries will begin in 2010. The order is the largest so far for the aircraft, said Airbus Chief Commercial Officer John Leahy.

The Toulouse, France-based planemaker also gained an order from Fly Asian Xpress for 15 A330-300 airliners worth $2.88 billion at list prices. The planes will be used by AirAsia X, Fly Asian's new long-haul budget carrier scheduled to begin operations in September.

The other orders came from Thai Airways International, which placed an order for eight A330-300 planes worth $1.5 billion at list prices, and OAO Aeroflot, Eastern Europe's largest airline, which said it will buy five A321 airliners valued at $440 million.

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